Town residents prepare for speedier connectionThis is the year when all of the town of Troy gets wired for high-speed Internet. The broadband initiative is a collaboration between the town and Baldwin Telecom Inc (BTI).
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
This is the year when all of the town of Troy gets wired for high-speed Internet.
The broadband initiative is a collaboration between the town and Baldwin Telecom Inc (BTI).
It represents years of research and the efforts of the Town of Troy Broadband Committee, headed by Warren Vollmar.
The money for the $9-million project comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed two years ago by Congress. Half the money is in the form of a grant, the other half is a loan to draw on as work proceeds.
According to BTI Manager Larry Knegendorf, “These (federal) stimulus funds for broadband will help play an important part in bringing 21st century infrastructure to all residents of the town of Troy.”
Broadband data access helps rural areas take full advantage of increasing Internet usage and creates jobs.
“Troy residents have a one-time opportunity to have fiber-optic cabling brought to their home at a much reduced cost,” said Troy Town Chairman Ray Knapp. “The cost of bringing the cable up to every home is part of the federal stimulus grant awarded to BTI and the town. If residents decide to wait, there will be utility fees and trenching costs that must be paid later.
“The Town Board encourages every resident to review their options and take the action that they feel is appropriate. This is an exciting time, and the availability of a fiber-network is a huge deal for our town.”
The fiberoptic (broadband) installation across Troy starts in May. It should end by October.
The hookup from road rights-of-way through yards and up to homes is done at no cost for residents.
New Richmond-based Tjader & Highstrom is the contractor hired to “plow” and lay the fiberoptic cables.
BTI’s Operations Manager Matt Sparks listed key phases of the project:
- Tjader will “plow” 36-inch lines along roads where the fiberoptic cable is to be placed. The blade used to plow will make a half-inch wide incision.
- The same contractor will extend the fiberoptic cable from roads to homes, plowing 12-24 inches deep, same half-inch width, depending on the terrain. Unless the blade hits a rock or tree root, there should be no mess. If a hole is made anywhere, the contractor will fill it with black dirt and seed at no expense.
“You shouldn’t even be able to tell where they were there working,” Sparks said.
And what must the roughly 1,700 Troy households do to get ready for the town’s broadband project?
Sparks said the contractor will need to bring fiberoptic cable through a one-inch PVC pipe into the house and attach it to an Optical Network Terminal. The terminal can also be kept outside a house, but the PVC conduit running inside is still needed.
To prepare a house, Sparks said residents will need to make sure they have centralized low-voltage wiring. Most houses built in the last 15 years or so have this. However, they will still need to add the PVC conduit.
Residents can try doing the work themselves, or contact one of these area firms with training for the Troy fiberoptic project: Ward Tewinkel Electric, 715-425-7336; Helgeson Electric, 715-684-2402; Enterprise Electric & Alarm, 715-928-0026; Scott Freer Electric, 715-381-1155; Monicken Electric, 715-684-2609; Ron Burton, 715-222-4887; Richardson Electric, 715-672-3357; William Denzer: Home Media Innovations, 715-377-0606.
Sparks said the cost to hire out for the wiring-and-pipe installation can vary. On average, he said the job will cost from $120-$240.
Most modern houses have low-voltage wiring stored in a plastic container by the circuit-breaker box of a utility room.
Broadband preparation costs will be higher for older houses with finished basements where access to wiring is limited.
Residents can refuse to have the fiber-optic cable run through their land and connected to their house.
Starting this week and going through spring, Sparks said a BTI representative will go door-to-door. The employee, in a clearly marked company truck, will wear a BTI jacket and I.D. badge.
The employee will explain the broadband installation project and answer questions. If a homeowner doesn’t want to participate, that decision will be noted and followed.
Sparks said if no homeowner contact is made, then BTI will not do any work on that person’s property or home.
Read more on this story in the Jan. 20 print edition of the River Falls Journal.